Eric Johnson Stratocaster (Rosewood) – Review

Introduced as a companion to its maple necked cousin, this rosewood fingerboard equipped Eric Johnson Artist Series Stratocaster brings to play a myriad of features, painstakingly design by Eric himself through experimentation and live use.


The Stratocaster is based on a 1965 model with a 2- piece contoured light alder body. Finished in thin-skin nitrocellulose lacquer, several new colour options are available to this model including the tropical turquoise version we are reviewing in this article.

Its standout feature is the bound rosewood fingerboard, which is very unusual for a Stratocaster, usually reserved for models such as the new Vintage Reissue Jazzmaster. Other features include the thinner than normal headstock with an extra soft neck to headstock transition, staggered vintage tuners with removes the need for string tees, , a special 57 style tremolo block (with no paint between the base and block) and no tremolo back plate.

As for electronics, these are pretty much standard which the exception of the custom designed pickups tested on the road by Eric himself.

A blonde vintage case with gold interior is also included, as well as a woven strap, ash tray bridge cover and a coil cord.


Unplugged the Strat sounds resonant and vibrant, with an easy low action on the neck. Plug it in to an amp and it comes alive with vintage Strat tones with the bright bite on the bridge, fender quack on positions 2 and 4 (think Dire Straits), almost Jazz on the neck and a useful all-round sound in the middle.

The deep contours allow for a very comfortable playing position with no hard edges “digging in”. Add some overdrive and things warm up and get dirty. The practically blocked tremolo and lack of string tee makes for near perfect tuning stability and I am sure adds extra sustain.


Certainly a high end instrument very capable and its quirky/unique features make it different enough to add to your guitar arsenal even if you already own a Stratocaster (Or two as in my case).

To be honest I originally thought the lack of a tremolo backing plate would bother me but so far I see no need to install one. The only thing you might to consider is if to float the tremolo (movement in both directions) or leave it flat against the body which only allows upwards movement as is stock.

This allows less tremolo action but helps tuning stability.


An excellent instrument, not to be overlooked.

Text and Photos By Ernest H Slade



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